How we got here and what is available now

This article covers the development history of the SIMULIA brand within Dassault Systèmes and the new capabilities offered by SIMULIA in the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform.


  • CATIA V5 with feature based solids modeling arrived to the public in 1998 on the Windows platform.
  • In 2005 Dassault Systèmes acquires Abaqus and creates a new brand called SIMULIA. At this time Abaqus version 6 already exists which gives the FEA users somewhat modern CAD tools in a fairly nice user interface. However, CATIA V5 (CAD) and Abaqus (FEA) are still separate applications.
  • CATIA V6 arrives in 2009 which adopts PLM 2.0 to run its core. File based CATIA no longer exists, but the benefits are tremendous as PLM can truly be in the cloud without lag for global CAD users.
  • SIMULIA releases DesignSight for designers and ExSight for expert analysts. We see our first CATIA V6 analysis products that solve using the core Abaqus solvers.
  • 3DEXPERIENCE platform arrives in 2014. This is a next generation V6 where all applications across all users have a common UI. We are now starting to see many more Abaqus processes being delivered in this new UI. Going forward, the focus will be to use the CATIA geometry kernel to model and Abaqus solver technology to solve. This brings the best of both worlds, all in a common UI. Also, SIMULIA releases some major enhancements that only this integration can provide (high performance visualization, assembly of meshes, etc.).
  • At the 2014 SIMULIA Community Conference (SCC) in Providence, Rhode Island Abaqus/CAE users are shown that that they will continue to see major enhancements and continued support for years to come just like CATIA V5. However there will come a time when moving to the 3DEXPERIENCE will be the right choice as the platform is allowing for a more rapid growth in innovation.


The 3DEXPERIENCE platform is symbolized by the compass. The 3DEXPERIENCE platform transforms the way “innovators innovate with consumers” by connecting designers, engineers, marketing, managers and even consumers, in a new ‘social enterprise’.


The user interface (UI) has a simplified layout with brand new, beautifully crafted icons. Here’s a screenshot of the SIMULIA application from a user’s perspective:

Simulia UI

Changing the application affects only two components of the UI.

  • The title of the application.
  • The features accessible in the action bar.

Brands UI


SIMULIA is taking a different approach to packaging in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform. Traditional Abaqus gave users access to almost all capabilities (Abaqus/CAE, Abaqus/Standard, Abaqus/Explicit, Abaqus/CFD…), whereas now the approach to packaging is based on the type of customer and their specific industry needs. SIMULIA on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform is packaged in roles and when a customer buys a role, they are delivered access to specific apps. . 3DEXPERIENCE 2014x has a number of roles available out of the box, that are described below. In 2015x and beyond, we will see many more roles being released, some of which will have very specific workflows for specific users in certain industries. The usage profile of these roles is already being clearly defined as some are targeted to designers and others to the Abaqus power user.

It must also be noted that how jobs are solved and the number of cores or GPU’s needed will still be controlled using tokens, just like in traditional Abaqus. However, there will be cases where specific roles will have cores delivered without the need for tokens.


Product Design Simulation (PDS) is one of the initial roles released in 3DEXPERIENCE 2014x. PDS provides product designers with easy-to-use simulation-based guidance to improve product structural and thermal performance and reduce the cost and time of design validation. It enables product designers to innovate more during the conceptual design phase, because they can have confidence of guidance to help determine whether or not designs are acceptable.

PDS, like CATIA Mechanical Engineering, CATIA Mechanical & Shape Design Engineering and SolidWorks Mechanical Conceptual, is part of the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and the CATIA geometry Kernel. Being part of the same platform provides a natural level of integration between the apps. You can design a product in Mechanical Engineering or Mechanical Conceptual and seamlessly switch to PDS to define the simulation aspects of your model. Both apps, as well as other apps on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, use the same model stored on the cloud server so that everything is always synchronized: changes in the CAD model are automatically reflected when working with simulation.

PDS’s target audience is product designers who are comfortable with CAD but not necessarily with simulation tools and finite element analysis (FEA). PDS is designed to be easy to use and to guide the user through the process of setting up and running simulations. Most simulations can be set up in Product Design Simulation in just a few minutes.

PDS uses Abaqus solver technology, which is different from solver technology used by existing CATIA Analysis and SolidWorks simulation. Abaqus, developed by the Dassault Systèmes SIMULIA brand, is a worldwide leader in structural simulation. Its highly respected FEA solver is used by leading companies in many industries (aerospace, automotive, high-tech, and more) to perform virtual testing and design certification.

Other roles available in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform and may be reviewed in future blog articles are:

  • Machine & Equipment Design Validation (IED) – Provide realistic simulation capabilities within CATIA workflows
  • Abaqus Structural Mechanics Simulation (SME) – Comprehensive modeling environment for static structural and thermal analysis
  • Abaqus Dynamics Simulation (SME) – Comprehensive modeling environment for static/dynamic structural and thermal analysis=
  • Abaqus Fluid Mechanics Simulation (FLO) – CFD capabilities on the 3DExperince platform

Now Abaqus simulations are in the 3DEXPERIENCE platform alongside CATIA geometry models.  SIMULIA can now focus solely on simulation enhancements and while CATIA focuses on CAD enhancements.

Watch our recent WEBINAR


SIMULIA in the 3DEXPERIENCE Platform – Q&A

Article compiled by Todd Wigglesworth
Senior Application Engineer
Inceptra LLC